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  1. #21
    Dark's Avatar
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    I guess the recommended anti-piracy method would be based on what type of program you have.

    If it deal with the internet, an internet based check isn't a bad idea. Its annoying in some cases, ie Starcraft II, where theres a single player yet you need internet connection to play it.

    Another thing is, there really isn't any anti-pirate proof method. If someone wants your program illegally they will get it with enough work.

    If your program requires updates, ie Anti-Virus, an Activation key is fine. The user who cracks it won't be able to connect to your server to get an update without a valid activation key.

    TL;DR: It really depends on what type of software it is.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzyman View Post
    JosAh: That's also very true, but isn't it much easier when you're only providing a specialised software and/or in person? I'm also developing a semi-specialised software, and I'm not worried about selling it to the small businesses I plan on selling it to, because they have much more important things to do than copy and distibute my software. The problem is when, at the same time, you want your software to be able to be downloaded en masse on the internet for a small fee.
    Well, my customers pay a lot of money for the software and the hardware and on top of that: inside those factories there is no internet, there isn't even orndinary radio. The most sophisticated I can rely on are cables that transport RS/485 signals. My customers get a nice CD in a little box with their name on it. Fools and customers like to see their own names printed everywhere. ;-)

    kind regards,

    Jos
    cenosillicaphobia: the fear for an empty beer glass

  3. #23
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    Lol, josah :). Believe me I know what you're talking about... those old school men running very old businesses, and utterly computer illiterate.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzyman View Post
    Lol, josah :). Believe me I know what you're talking about... those old school men running very old businesses, and utterly computer illiterate.
    Well, those folks may be old school, computer-wise, but they have a giant factory that produces artificial leather for German luxury car interiors; our equipment (just two small boxes) checks the colour 'constantness' of their product and goes *beep* when a colour value goes out of bounds (and then some). Their equipment are huge machines that make mysterious noises and smell bad (all sorts of dangerous chemicals). Another factory produces plastic 'sugar'; don't ask me why and how but almost everything is made out of that smelly stuff. Why does everything I have to work with stink so much? ;-)

    kind regards,

    Jos
    cenosillicaphobia: the fear for an empty beer glass

  5. #25
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    Lol, plastic sugar? That sounds so odd. Anyway it sounds like a cool system, stink if they must at least its keeping you in business! I wonder how you check the colour though? Cameras? or some other type of sensors?

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzyman View Post
    Lol, plastic sugar? That sounds so odd. Anyway it sounds like a cool system, stink if they must at least its keeping you in business! I wonder how you check the colour though? Cameras? or some other type of sensors?
    Yep, sugar, and it's transported in huge bags from a harbour located next to the factory, across the puddle where those tribes on the wrong side of the pond turn it into coca cola bottles and whatever. Our system 'sees' light (no images), just colour and very accurate and very fast; it's based on light sensitive sensors, ADC units and a few small micro controllers; at the end there's a Java application doing the understandable work. That 'sugar' has to have exactly the right colour (e.g. yellowish coca cola bottles are frowned upon)

    kind regards,

    Jos
    cenosillicaphobia: the fear for an empty beer glass

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzyman View Post
    Also, i'm not an expert either but I don't think it would require a lot of hard code to implement something to detect cracks. You'd probably just need to check the file attributes and make sure the size is correct, the file wasn't modified after some certain date, all the files are there etc
    Detecting cracks is EXTREMELY expensive to do, for every crack you detect another 2 will pop up and you'll have to spend time/money writing the code to detect those, and checks that could detect potential new cracks will generate false positives that require alot of time/money being spent on customer support. Also checking files is one of the easiest protections to crack, you just name the cracked file something else and let it check the original file(s).

    The simple truth is that piracy protection is a lie, there's no such thing, the best you can do is delay the piracy by a few days or release a product that's bad enough that it's not worth the time/effort to crack.

    With online content you can drastically improve things with unique identifiers (activation keys and what not) but people can still generate fake ones or worse yet generate (or even steal) ones given to legitimate customers, and if you're app isn't reliant on online content then it's not really an option anyway.

    Piracy protection can also do a lot more damage to your sales than the piracy you are trying to stop, the PC game Spore got thousands of 1 star votes on amazon because of it's piracy protection being too invasive and it was still pirated before the game was officially released and invasive copy protection encourages people to get the pirate version instead of buying it (read this for details). And most people who download pirated software probably wouldn't buy the software they are getting even if there wasn't a pirate version available, so don't fall into the trap of seeing 1,000,000 pirate copies of your app and thinking that's 1,000,000 lost sales, because it isn't.

    IMO the best you can do is put in place the least invasive and cost effective protection to force people to look for a crack if they don't want to pay for your software. It'll probably only stop a small percentage of pirate copies, but at least with less invasive protection you won't be turning away people who are willing to pay, and users won't give you bad press about it.
    Last edited by Skiller; 04-13-2011 at 10:47 PM.
    Currently developing Cave Dwellers, a Dwarf Fortress/Minecraft style game for Android.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Tips to protect your software from piracy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skiller View Post
    ).

    The simple truth is that piracy protection is a lie, there's no such thing, the best you can do is delay the piracy by a few days or release a product that's bad enough that it's not worth the time/effort to crack.
    Before i start let me state that your video sponsors are EXTREMELY annoying.

    I agree with your statement.
    I can report here the solution i adopted.
    In fact there is NO way to protect a software or a digital product from being cracked or copied. it's sad but true.
    I found an article, pretty interesting but i won't post the link unless you ask me to do it, that describes a different approach.

    The approach is the following:
    how many chances are there that you are going to sell a digital product whose price is averagely above the 5 dollars in a country where such money could represent one or more days of salary. 0 to none.

    So what is the benefit to expose your brand or product in those countries? none.
    By chance, are those the same countries where criminal organizations or criminal behaviors about copying software are pretty widespread? well, very very very often.
    Respectfully for the honest people in those same countries. but that is the truth.

    So why are we exposing our product in those countries?
    I faced a situation in which we had 100+ new links to cyberlockers files that contained cracked versions of our products every months. Every day new links spreading illegally cracked versions of our software.
    We decided to ban a bunch of those countries. (among them, but not only, china, russia, ukraine, romania, malaysia, india, some south american countries, some eastern europe countries etc.) All places where the average salary can be as low as $1 per day. tell me how we were supposed to sell anything there... impossible. plus we were getting piracy from those countries.

    Result: no more piracy.
    Attempts yes, for sure, lot of proxying attempts, but no more piracy.
    What did we lose? customers? we did not have sales in those countries before, no matter how much we advertised, so no we did not lose customers. actually we gained in terms of server load.

    We saved all our new products, released after the ban, we saved hours of work everyday trying to track those links, dealing with removals requests, etc.
    We improved our quality of life, sounds naive, but it worked. up to you guys.
    Last edited by jim73; 11-22-2012 at 09:35 PM.

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